Basically, we cook to feed ourselves, so the initial cooking could be simply heat things to taste better than raw materials. It could be quite long later when people found some parts of certain plants could make cooked food taste even better. Possibly people living along the sea found salt and spread it to all around the world. Till nowadays, flavorings themselves can make a thick book and their existence causes cooking to become more a technology than a life skill. However, most people actually still have the basic life skill, just some of them do not think it is no longer necessary to use it as there are already professional cookers, and some other of them fear that their failure to cook could cause a mess in kitchen. Well, if they never try cooking even once, they will never know how enjoyable cooking can be.
Now we know the basic requirements for cooking: raw materials, heating and flavoring. Whatever you want to cook, oil and salt are just necessary, and with the two alone, you can just cook raw materials into pretty good dishes. Chicken essence could also be used often as it makes any ordinary food taste more delicious, but if you do not like the idea of eating two much chemical flavoring, you can replace it with champignon pieces, which will make the food you cook not only tasty but also fragrant.
There here comes the question: how much salt or oil to use for cooking a dish? It really depends on what you cook. To be secure, for one full plate of food, one full teaspoon of salt and two serving spoons (ordinary) of oil would just be fine. If you use other salty flavorings such as soy sauce, you can put in less salt. As for other flavorings like pepper powder, vinegar and sugar, the principle is to put in no more than one teaspoon. If you love rich flavored food, you can feel free to put in as much as you like. As green-hand cookers, you should give yourselves several chances to experiment with different ways of cooking. No one would blame you for it. Of course if you do not want to waste much, you can cook your first few dishes in small amounts.
Another question is about how long a dish should be cooked. For leafy vegetables, a few minutes is enough as long as the vegetables become soft; for tubers like potatoes, it make take as long as 20-30 minutes, and you can judge if it’s ready for eat by trying to smash the tubers with a spoon. If it’s easy to mash, it would be ready; meats are actually easy to be cooked, you can tell whether it’s cooked well by seeing whether the color has changed thoroughly.
If you still think such simplified cooking process complicated, then you can try to start cooking by making a soup. Almost any vegetable or meat can make a soup. The key to make a delicious soup is to smash juice out of your material before pouring water into it. Water does not have taste, it’s the material’s juice that makes a soup tasty, so do not pour in too much water into your soup, just put in enough to merely cover your material.